OSM Hiking 2

Downloading Hiking Data From Open Street Map

Recently, I needed to import hiking trail data into ArcGIS for a project aimed at increasing trail connectivity throughout Suffolk County on Long Island. There are several sites that allow you to download .GPX files for trails but it would take forever to download and import them all separately.

Instead, I used the below tool to select the area of interest and export all hiking/footpaths in Open Street Map. This proved to be wildly more successful than I had expected. A useful side effect of importing data this way (for this project, at least) was that it only imported true pedestrian trails, not “trails” that are actually just walking along the side of the road.

You can also follow this guide if you need to download data for buildings, points of interest, restaurants, roads, rails, bridges, water, and so many other preset categories. While there was a preset for footpaths, many of the trails were categorized as other pedestrian “highways” so I had to manually add others that I found on the Open Street Map wiki.

I encourage you to research the category you’re trying to find on Open Street Map and see what others exist if the presets aren’t importing everything you need: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Category:Key_descriptions

To import hiking trail data into ArcGIS (or other programs that support .shp/shapefiles) in your community, visit this link: https://export.hotosm.org/en/v3/exports/new/describe

You will be prompted to create an account with Open Street Map and the HOT Export Tool. Name your project and click next. Change the export to .Shp unless you need it in another format and click next.

Paste this into the YAML tab, replacing anything that was there:

    - lines
    - highway
    - highway='footway'
    - highway='path'
    - highway='track'
    - highway='sidewalk'
    - highway='steps'
    - highway='pedestrian'
    - highway='bridleway'

Finally, draw the area of interest on the map. There is a limit to this area but I was able to fit my entire county. You can always do the export in multiple pieces. On the summary tab, I clicked Unfiltered files but I don’t know if that’s needed.

Once it’s done, you will get an email. Download and import the shape file as you normally would!

Now, there are definitely some missing trails but if I were to be working on a specific area, I could always download the .GPX file from AllTrails and convert it here: https://mygeodata.cloud/converter/gpx-to-shp

Screenshot 2020-11-13 004612

Long Island Wedding Venue Spreadsheet

Note: Prices, venue policies and menus may have changed since this article was written in 2020.

I recently spent many hours preparing a massive spreadsheet to compare the seemingly endless wedding venues across Long Island. When all the research was complete, and we had chosen our venue, I figured I would share my findings instead of having all that work sit wasted.

So, I posted it to LIWeddings.com and it was promptly removed without cause. I have not heard back from them about this, even after reaching out about to the moderators but I assume the site is controlled by venues, vendors and people who have an interest in not sharing this kind of information publicly.

This sheet may be of particular interest if you happen to be a vegetarian or if you’re looking for a dog friendly venue (outdoor ceremony). It also may be of use to you even if you’re not from Long Island if you’re willing to clear the data and use the formulas to help narrow down you search in another area. I have it set to estimate the cost of additional vendors based on whether or not they’re included in the package price. I estimated taxes and fees as well.

The prices and ratings are deemed to be current as of October 2020 for an April 2022 wedding. After visiting 10 of these venues and ultimately choosing one, I would definitely say that while a spreadsheet is useful for gathering initial information, it can only guide you so far. There were venues that looked good on paper but in reality, were not good choices for us.

I hope this helps someone with their wedding planning journey. Feel free to reach out if you have questions!

Here it is: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wHHRjedJzq3IKAGPIkfmIXTh-I1O7BXJv0gjqAucBNA/edit?usp=sharing

25 Non-Dairy Yogurt Ratings (May 2020)

With so many new choices, I was overwhelmed by the recent expansion by traditional yogurt makers to the non-dairy sector. To help myself navigate this growing sector, I started rating every non-dairy yogurt I tried.

Below, you’ll find a simple list of every non-dairy yogurt I could get my hands on (except most soy based yogurts). In general, the mid range yogurts are not bad but they were often too high in sugar to give a very high rating.

I was impressed by how even the lowest yogurt rating was edible. I gave no yogurt a zero or one star rating. I may amend this as I try some of the early yogurts for a second time.

Hope this helps someone and if you have any recommendations for others to try, let me know!

** Kite Hill Almond Vanilla

** LAVA Pineapple (Pili Nuts, Coconut and Plantains)

** Silk Oat Yeah Vanilla

** So Delicious Oat Sweet Mango

*** Almond Breeze Almond Milk Vanilla

*** Chobani Coconut Vanilla

*** Chobani Oat Peach Coconut Crisp

*** Chobani Oat Strawberry Granola Crunch

*** Daiya Coconut Cream Strawberry

*** Good Karma Flaxmilk Strawberry

*** Kite Hill Almond Key Lime

*** So Delicious Coconut Vanilla

*** Stonyfield Soy Vanilla

**** Chobani Oat Blueberry Almond Crumble

**** Chobani Oat Blueberry Pomegranate

**** Chobani Oat Strawberry Vanilla

**** Chobani Oat Vanilla

**** Good Plants Almond Milk Lemon Meringue

**** LAVA Strawberry (Pili Nuts, Coconut and Plantains)

**** Ripple Peas Vanilla

**** Trader Joes Cashew Vanilla Bean

**** Trader Joes Coconut Blueberry

**** Trader Joes Coconut Strawberry

***** Forager Cashew Milk Blueberry

***** Forager Cashew Milk Vanilla

I was not compensated for any recommendations, nor was I given any free samples, though free samples would be nice!


Waze Custom Voices Database

Waze recently released its custom voice feature, allowing anyone to record their own voices to use for their GPS. The best part? They’re shareable! Searching for the perfect voice, I went through every Waze voice I could find (there were 45 at the time of posting) and rated them on how funny they were, how long you could realistically listen to the voice, and how good the audio quality was.

Then, I summarized my comments about the unique features of each voice and provided the link to download the voice yourself. The voices are sorted by overall review score. Remember that my scores and summaries are my personal thoughts – You might absolutely love the voice I scored the lowest!

Have you recorded a Waze voice that you’d like to add to the database? Leave a comment below with the link to the voice and I’ll give it a review and post it here!

Screenshot (14)

Kimco Continues to Transform its Properties & its Portfolio Toward its 2020 Vision

In a timely decision to reinvest in the United States, Kimco completed its divestment from Canada and Mexico to focus solely on its US assets. The goal, as described in its long term strategy plan, is to create “high-quality” properties located primarily in major metro areas. As shown, Kimco completed it’s strategic four year exit from other countries as of this quarter.

Charts: Kimco’s divestment from other countries, which accelerated starting in 2013, has just been completed this quarter. Though GLA (gross leasable area) has decreased, Kimco’s goal is to manage only “high quality” properties with low vacancies and high density regions.


Shedding its foreign properties allows the company to avoid currency fluctuations, foreign political turmoil, allocate management to key metro areas and avoid any new taxes/tariffs put in place by the new administration. “We applaud steps KIM is taking to simplify its business model” said S&P analyst C. Seifert, who was impressed with Kimco’s efforts to reduce its exposure to certain overseas markets and joint ventures.

While the company’s ambitions are clear, the it still faces many challenges during its transformation. First, the company must carefully redistribute the funds from the sale of its final foreign assets. Closing out 2016, the company sold off its final three properties in Mexico, one in Chile and 27 in Canada, generating $417 million for the company. However, for the year, sales of 34 Canadian centers have grossed the company nearly $895 million.

One of the properties Kimco recently sold, Galerias Rio Sonora in Mexico, perfectly demonstrates why the company made an exit from foreign properties. Viewing the property from street view, it becomes clear that the property, though impressive in scale and luxury, is not surrounded by the high income suburban density that Kimco’s 2020 plan describes. Additionally, the elevated security posts in the parking lot are staffed, unlike many in America which are only present for perceived security, suggesting higher crime levels. Continuing up the road, vacant buildings dot the largely undeveloped landscape.


Kimco  will allocate the proceeds from the sales of each property toward acquiring high quality properties, choosing sites in prime locations for mixed-use development and revitalizing aging properties. Kimco does, however, already lease a small number of offices, usually situated above conventional retail outlets but these properties were always ones they acquired rather than built from the ground up. This is the first time the company will, from the ground up, enter the residential and commercial office markets. 

Image: Kimco has already secured between 13 and 79 percent of leases for their development properties despite estimated completion dates reaching into 2021. This validates the company’s interest in the retail market despite growing sector turmoil. However, in the same image, the company acknowledges the shift toward providing residential and commercial office space in order to create desirable consumer spaces. (Source: Kimco First Quarter 2017 Supplemental)


Kimco is now developing residential towers, office buildings and entertainment centers in addition to its retail centers.  Above, Kimco outlines its estimated costs for ground up development, costing upwards of $674 million to develop six properties. By developing these properties, Kimco expects to add 2.5 million square feet of leasable area, 235,000 sq. ft. of which will be residential. Kimco is banking on the idea that people will live in company owned apartments, purchase most of their products in company leased retail stores and potentially work in company leased offices.


This is more commonly known as the “Live, Work & Play Environment,” as stated on the company website. With 72 percent of the company’s annual base rent sourced from shopping centers that already have grocery store anchors, Kimco sees an opportunity to revitalize its centers to reflect this holistic approach of consumerism.


Reflecting upon Kimco’s 2020 Vision strategy, analyst Edward Mui from Morningstar notes that, “The simpler, quality-focused strategy will better support long-term demand and decrease risk for the company’s portfolio, ultimately benefiting investors.” He continues to explain that in the near term, the company’s large developments and frequent disposal and acquisition of properties will lead to balance sheets that might appear to be worrisome to investors who are not aware of the company’s plan.


Kimco planned five sites for development and five sites for revitalization. In recent years, Kimco completed the redevelopment of 13 sites. All the sites, as stated on the plan, are in major metropolitan areas such as Houston, Baltimore and New York City.


One of the more challenging tasks the company faces is selecting properties to acquire and dispose of. While it’s easy to look at current lease revenue and tenant occupancy, it’s extremely complicated to estimate the return on a property given the investment to redevelop the space. Kimco owns two properties that perfectly demonstrate this dilemma.

Jericho Atrium, a moderately sized office complex located on Long Island, does not fit the company’s vision of “high-quality” mixed use retail space. However, it is well leased and has a large parking lot for potential future development.


Another property on Long Island, recently acquired by Kimco, is the Milleridge Inn. The property features a restaurant, catering hall and a small “colonial” village that includes a number of boutique shops. As a property that carries historic designation, Kimco is extremely limited in its redevelopment but it explored building a hotel or an assisted living community on the property.

Dania Pointe, the company’s most extensive project thus far, is located in the Fort Lauderdale metro area. There, Kimco is building a massive mixed use development on the site of an old wooden roller coaster park. It will build 1,100 residential units, two hotels 750,000 square feet of office space and nearly one billion square feet of retail and restaurant space. The space is adjacent to a property Kimco already owns, making it the company’s largest presence in a single community in the country.



Though it sold close to a billion dollars in real estate this year, the company has just $140 million of cash on hand. The company’s biggest challenge will be to make sure it has sufficient funding for all its projects in addition to all its current liabilities. Luckily for Kimco, the company has just entered into a revolving credit agreement for $2.25 billion from 19 major financial institutions.


Investors, thus far, have not been convinced that the strategic plan will succeed. Shares dropped to another 52-week low this week despite the company posting in-line earnings per share. Valueline analyst Frederick L. Harris commented that, “We attribute that price move, to a certain degree, to less-than-ideal business conditions in the retail store industry.” Harris continued, arguing that the company now has effectively no foreign exposure but, “We like this strategy, since business prospects there don’t seem to be as decent as in the United States.”

Shares dropped to another 52-week low this week despite the company posting in-line earnings per share. 


How Easily to Make an Isochrone (For Free!)

For those who have never heard of one, an Isochrone is an awesome map that shows you how far you can travel in a given amount of time. The above image, for example, shows how far I could travel (by car doing the speed limit) from my home town in hour increments.

I had seen websites that showed you how far you could travel by public transportation (here and here) but they were limited to certain cities and, worse, limited by how far you could travel.

Most isochrone maps either require a ton of coding or they’re simply not free. After some digging, I found this website: https://iso4app.net/demo.jsp Just change the isoline from isodistance to isochrone and then click any point and it will show you an isochrone! However, it’s limited to a travel time of 10 minutes unless you follow the following steps:

  1. Go here: https://iso4app.net/#api and request an API key
  2. Follow the instructions on the email to obtain the API key (log into the site after activating)
  3. Go to: https://iso4app.net/demo.jsp and paste the API key in the designated box.
  4. That’s it! The API key you get is only good for 1000 lines and you can only use it for the month before you’d have to pay.

Now you can adjust the settings to any distance! If you want it to look like mine (with multiple lines), just uncheck remove previous isoline.


How to See Your First Messages With Someone on Facebook

Below, you’ll find four different guides on how to see and save your old Facebook messages. If you follow these guides, you’ll be able to see your first Facebook message with someone (as long as Facebook hasn’t deleted it), save all of your messages for safe keeping or simply take a stroll down memory lane.

Last tested on November 14th, 2020.

Very Easy

If you’d like the quickest, easiest, way to see your first message, follow this guide. However, you’ll need to remember what you said or one of the keywords.


If you want an easy way to backup all your messages and an easy way to see your first message if you don’t remember how it went, follow this guide. However, this method lists all your messages in one giant page so you’ll have to do some sifting to find it. Additionally, Facebook makes you wait up to a day to receive the download.


This method is the best if you want to see your first messages with a specific person, don’t remember how it went and don’t fell like waiting up to a day for your download. I personally think most people will choose this method because it’s still easy as long as you follow the steps carefully.


If you want to backup and save your messages with someone in a clean PDF form, this is the guide for you. Be prepared to work for it though, as it may take quite some time if you wish to save a lot of messages.

Very Easy:

  1. Go to https://www.facebook.com/messages/
  2. Search for the topic you were talking about when you first started talking using the search bar.
  3. Find the conversation and click into it.
  4. That’s it!


  1. Go to https://www.facebook.com/settings
  2. Toward the bottom, click “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”
  3. Enter your password and then wait for Facebook to email you a download link.Image
  4. Re-enter your password and then wait for it to finish downloading.
  5. Open the file you downloaded (you will have to extract/unzip it) and click into your username. You’ll see an html file called “index.html” – click that.
  6. When it opens, click messages and there’s everything! Hopefully your computer is powerful enough to open up ALL your Facebook messages at once!
  7. Ctrl (or Command) +F is your friend.


  1. Go to http://m.facebook.com/messages/ (Notice that this is the mobile version of Facebook for phones.)
  2. Click the person you want to see the first message with.
  3. Right click the ”See older messages” button and click “open in new tab.”


  4. The URL should have a section that looks like this: “last_message_timestamp=1292112000000”
  5. Enter the date you’re looking to go back to and click convert on this website: https://www.unixtimestamp.com/index.php
  6. Copy the output time stamp and past it to replace the numbers Facebook had. Make sure to add an extra 3 zeros to match their format.
  7. You might still have to click “See older messages” a bit to get to the first few, but it’s nothing compared to going through 50,000+ messages first!


If you’re like me and you want to save every single message with someone because you don’t trust Facebook’s servers or if you just want a clean way to view your messages with someone to reminisce, you’re in the right place! No matter the reason, here’s my best attempt to explain how to save them all! Make sure you have a good computer if you plan on doing this method!

  1. To start, open up a browser like Google Chrome that has a print to PDF function.
  2. Go to http://m.facebook.com/messages/ (Notice that this is the mobile version of Facebook for phones.)
  3. Click the person you want to see the first message with.
  4. Download an auto mouse clicker app such as “Free Mouse Auto Clicker” for Windows or “Auto Mouse Clicker”  for Mac.
  5. Script your computer to systematically click the “See older messages” button and repeat after a second or so. This is where you’re going to need a good computer because many browsers crash once the RAM is maxed out.
  6. After the computer starts to slow down, which it will, stop the auto clicker, click print and choose save as PDF. My computer can usually make it through a few months of messages before you need to make a PDF.
  7. Make sure to check images and uncheck headers if you’re using Chrome.
  8. Right click the ”See older messages” button again and click “open in new tab.” Close the full and slow tab.
  9. Now all you have to do is repeat the process!

I wish you luck, as this is the hardest method of saving your messages, but the most rewarding. If you need help, I’m always here! Just don’t ask about how to use the Macro app. You just have to Google around or read the help document if you’re stuck.

If this post helped you, why not share this post with others! It’s the greatest thank you I could ask for!

2005 Pontiac Pursuit
(pre-production model shown)

30 Rare Used Cars With An MSRP Below 30K.

Using data from the NHTSA, I’ve compiled a list of the rarest/worst selling (depending on how you look at it) cars since 2000. Note that these prices reflect the price of the car in the year they were produced. Today, many of these cars can be had for under 10,000. Hope it helps someone!

Produced Maker Model Year
503 NISSAN 350Z 2009
807 JAGUAR X-TYPE 2008
808 ISUZU VEHICROSS 2000-2001
931 KIA AMANTI 2009
1011 HONDA INSIGHT 2003-2006
1023 TOYOTA MR2 SPYDER 2004-2005
1217 MAZDA RX-8 2010
1290 SUZUKI XL7 2009
1536 VOLVO C30 2010
1713 KIA RONDO 2010
1731 SAAB 9-2X 2006
1875 VOLVO V50 2008
1884 MAZDA B SERIES PICKUP 2008-2009
1913 VOLVO V50 2009

The Safest New and Used Cars of Our Time

There are hundreds of car models on the market, each offering differing safety features, legroom, prices, features, mpg, etc. Narrowing that list can be incredibly challenging, and time consuming – especially if you are open to buying new and used cars.

While the IIHS tries to compile a list of their recommended safest cars each year, they end up recommending about 150 cars. For anyone searching for a car, that number is overwhelming. On top of that, the IIHS doesn’t seem to take their own driver death rate into account when adding vehicles. Many have driver death rates that are above average.

Frustrated, I created a list of all the cars 2003 and newer that have both excelled in safety tests (cars that have a score of 55 or lower on informedforlife.org) and a driver fatality rate lower than the average of 28 people per 1 million cars sold (using data from informedforlife.org and iihs.org).

For the fatality rate, if the car had data for previous model years, I used that data – assuming that the car will only improve with time. For models that are new, newly redesigned, or if there wasn’t any recent data, I wrote “No Data.”

Hopefully this helps someone at least narrow their list a bit!

With new cars coming out each year, this post is going to be outdated right when it’s published. Hopefully, it will help used car buyers find cheap but safe cars in the future: Published 9/27/2015.

Year Type Model Fatality Rate
2007+ SUV Acura MDX (Later Release) Below Average
2015+ Car Acura RLX Model Too New
2009+ Car Acura TL Below Average
2009+ Car Acura TSX Below Average
2009+ Car Audi A4 Below Average
2016+ Car Audi A6 Below Average
2010+ SUV Audi Q5 No Data
2015+ SUV Buick Encore Model Too New
2008+ Car Cadillac CTS Below Average
2015+ SUV Chevy Trax Model Too New
2015+ Car Chrysler 200 Model Too New
2010+ Car Chrysler Sebring No Data
2015+ Truck Ford F150 Super Crew Below Average
2009+ SUV Ford Flex Below Average
2010+ Car Ford Mustang (Later Release) No Data
2008+ Car Ford Taurus Below Average
2015+ Car Honda Accord Below Average
2008+ Van Honda Odyssey Below Average
2007+ Van Hyundai Entourage Below Average
2009+ Car Hyundai Genesis (Later Release) No Data
2016+ SUV Hyundai Tucson Model Too New
2006+ Van Kia Sedona Below Average
2016+ Van Kia Sorrrento Below Average
2010+ SUV Lexus RX350 Below Average
2009+ Car Lincoln MKS Below Average
2014+ SUV Mazda CX-5 Model Too New
2016+ Car Mazda Mazda6 Model Too New
2014+ SUV Mercedes Benz ML Class Model Too New
2009+ Car Mercedes-Benz C-Class Below Average
2010+ Car Mercedes-Benz E-Class Below Average
2006+ Car Mercury Montego Below Average
2009+ Car Mercury Sable Below Average
2009+ Car Subaru Impreza Below Average
2010+ Car Subaru Legacy Below Average
2015+ SUV Subaru Outback Below Average
2010+ SUV Toyota 4Runner Below Average
2009+ SUV Toyota Venza Below Average
2005+ SUV Volvo XC90 Below Average